In Good Company Volume 9

A History of Blood

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F. John Darden was in the zone. He felt wild and free running through the desert under the dark blue sky filled with setting sun streamers of brilliant yellows, oranges, reds, and purples. The big, pine-green creosote bush by the ruts of the old stage road, the marker where he always turned back for home, appeared in the distance. In the low light he saw a dark specter rising like smoke wafting up from a dying fire, something long and straight held against its shoulder, float from behind the bush. Taking no chances the shadow was friend or enemy, Darden made a fast turn into the brush lining the road and ran for home, ran for his life, ran faster than he'd ever run before in long, thundering strides dodging through the creosotes, Spanish daggers, mesquite and yucca. He saw another runner approaching from the south and frantically waved for him to get away. Glancing back over his shoulder, he saw a brilliant flash of light, and then he was falling, falling, falling into deep, black darkness. . . .

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